Job and Zophar. Job’s friend Zophar answered, ‘Will your empty talk reduce men to silence? Will no one rebuke you for what you have said? I wish that God would speak up against you.
Glory Story / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
— Job 19-21
(Before 2100 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible

Questions & Observations

Q. (19:7-20): As painful of a state as Job sounds, there is some humor in this.  I want to say “Poor Eeyore.”  I was surprised to see even his stinky breath in his ranting, like Job is saying, “What kind of sick trick are you playing on me, God?”  The tone of his statements seems to communicate that he knows he is not deserving of this fate.  Would you agree?

A. That would certainly be consistent with his message throughout the text.  He, as a righteous man, is suffering the “sick joke” as you put it, while many who deserve punishment lavish or get away with it.

Job actually makes a good point (21:26) : if this life is all there is, then ultimately there is no justice.  As he said, if death is the end, the we, rich and poor, all end up in the same grave to decay.  In order for there to be justice (and a just God), the afterlife is needed.

Q. (19:29): Again, I see humor in this saga.  Now Job is acting as God when he says, “for your attitude deserves punishment.”  To me, it’s only human for Job and his friends to judge one another.  Everyone would think that someone with such bad luck surely has wronged God.  And, being human, would probably speak up about it, especially as vocal as these characters are.  How can you blame either side for saying what they are saying?  It’s the blind accusing the blind.  Both don’t know God’s reasoning for this devastation and would never be able to guess it. Yet they are put in the middle of the God/Satan challenge and wondering, “what is going on here?” to put it lightly.  Any comment?

A. It is in our nature to try and find the reason for things; we all desire to be able to “pull back the curtain” and reveal the wizard (to borrow from the Wizard of Oz).  The problem, as this story reveals, is that very often we are TERRIBLE at making these types of judgments.  Hopefully this story can teach us to be careful about judging motive, the sins a person may or may not be hiding, or their relationship with God.  Very often we stand ready to condemn, but it is almost always with only limited information.  If God shows restraint in His condemnation, then we should make it our practice as well.

Q. (20:4-5): Is Zophar accusing Job of being godless?  How well did these “friends” know Job?

A. I don’t think Zophar means that Job is an atheist, but rather that he is concerned that Job’s walk with God is badly out of sync.  Job is talking like a godless man: he is accusing God of being unjust to him, and Zophar appears concerned that nothing good will come of that.

We have no real outside information on how well Job’s friends knew him.

Q.  In 21:16, Job still shows his loyalty to God, but he doesn’t know why he does, given the “unfair” treatment between the godless and followers.  I don’t know if Job’s views are fact or if he is just saying these statements of unfairness because of his own despair and he is assuming that the Godless have a great life.  Is he just pouting?  This reminds me about a comment I almost typed out the other day.  I was going to say that Job was like a modern-day Warren Buffett.  But, then I wikipedia’d Warren Buffet and found out he was agnostic.  This is an example of Job’s beef — the Godless enjoy life.

A. I actually like the idea of Job being a “pouter” as you put it.  He’s waiting around for his “day in court”, and he appears to be sick of his friends “help” and getting no response from who he really wants answers from — God Himself.

(Since as far as I know Buffett is still alive, I would say he is agnostic).  Folks like Buffett and many successful (by this world’s standards anyway) folks who amass great wealth would seem to prove Job’s point: he is accusing God of allowing the godless to enjoy the good life, while so many others just get by or even starve to death.  Here again, this makes the afterlife even more important.

Tomorrow’s reading: Job 22-25